Monday, March 26, 2012
By Maluba Jere
Sun 25 Mar. 2012, 12:59 CAT
THE Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) board of directors has approved a US$355 million Compact grant to lay the foundation for systemic and lasting change in Lusaka's water, sanitation and drainage sector.
US Embassy in Zambia public affairs officer Priscilla Hernandez in a statement yesterday said the board of directors, chaired by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the identified problems were a critical constraint to a country's economic growth.
Announcing the award, MCC chief executive officer Daniel Yohannes said MMC investments were expected to have a meaningful impact on the lives of more than one million Lusaka residents.
Yohannes said the initiative would improve people's health and economic productivity and help the country reduce poverty on a sustainable basis by enhancing water security.
US Ambassador to Zambia Mark Storlla said reliable water sanitation and drainage systems were vital components for sustainable development.
Ambassador Storella said while mostly underground and largely invisible to the casual observer, the initiative would improve the health of Zambians, catalyse growth and continue to reduce poverty.
"I congratulate the people and government of Zambia for becoming one among a select group of countries to gain MCC approval for an MCC compact partnership" said Ambassador Storella.
"For more than two years, the Millennium Challenge Corporation has worked with the Zambian government, specifically the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, to help Zambia meet stringent MCC compact eligibility requirements. Together, we have engaged with multiple stakeholders in intensive negotiation, consultations and project development to achieve the five-year, $355 million Compact agreement with Zambia."
Hernandez stated that through the Compact agreement, the Zambian government would increase Lusaka's overall water supply.
She added that the Compact agreement would also improve the city's sanitation and drainage networks, lower flooding, provide city residents greater access to water, better water supply, sanitation and drainage services.
"The Compact also provides technical assistance to continue and deepen ongoing government-led sector reforms and ensure women and vulnerable populations benefit from project investments. The project also includes drainage infrastructure, health education and hygiene promotion," she stated.